Fire Escrow Withholding Legislation Receives Committee Hearing

HB 5862, a bill to amend the insurance code of 1956 to increase the maximum fire insurance escrow withholding for demolition of fire damaged property, received a committee hearing today in the House Local Government Committee.  Currently, the maximum amount allowed is $6,000 with inflationary adjustments.  This is about half of what the cost is for average demolition costs of fire damaged property.  HB 5862 will increase that amount to $12,000 with inflationary adjustments.  This will be a great help to local communities in combating blighted property and creating a safe environment for local residents.

Thank you to Rep. Amanda Price for introducing this legislation and bringing it before the committee for testimony.  Also, thank you to officials from the city of Detroit and city of Jackson for coming to testify in support of the legislation and how this would assist them in their daily efforts in battling blight.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development and land use issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

Full Senate Passes Michigan Investment Market Legislation

HB 5273, a bill dealing with Michigan investment markets, unanimously passed out of the full Senate today!  HB 5273 would give businesses and residents in Michigan the ability to become broker-dealers to create a market (online or in person) through which intrastate stocks can be listed, bought, sold and resold. Those interested in purchasing stock from local companies would have easy access to the listings of all the companies on the exchange and show these potential investors that there is indeed a market for what they may be purchasing.  Exchanges must apply and be registered with the state as well as follow rules of operation laid out in the legislation which will provide security for all those participating, both the businesses and the investors.

This is the next progression from the MILE/crowdfunding legislation that was passed earlier this year and we are thankful to Rep. Jenkins for working so diligently to help small businesses in our local communities grow and prosper.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development and land use issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305. 

Mobile Home Park Legislation Passes Out of Committee

The House Regulatory Reform committee passed out HB 5513 this week, a bill that makes changes to the Mobile Home Commission Act.  HB 5513 was introduced by Rep. Andy Schor in an effort to address a situation that occurred in his district with the Life O’Riley Mobile Home Park. This legislation requires the DEQ to outline clear roles for local units of government and enforcement (a problem that occurred with the Life O’Riley mobile home park that ended being condemned and residents forced to seek housing elsewhere). In addition, there are more reporting requirements of the DEQ to local units of government of rules promulgated or when a mobile home is found to be in violation.

The League is supportive of this legislation.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development and land use issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

DDA Legislation Receives Second Hearing for Testimony Only

Today the House Commerce committee took testimony again on HB 5856, a bill to amend the DDA act to provide for additional transparency and reporting requirements as well as adding in fund accumulation restrictions.  A substitute was adopted (HB5856 (H-1) (2)) during committee that adds in an element of gain sharing (1.25% accumulative per year beginning 5 years after TIF plan is adopted). The bill was not voted on during the committee today.

Thank you to the members who were able to come testify or be at the committee hearing and to those who have contacted their representatives on this important issue.  The chair indicated his desire to continue to work on this issue with the bill sponsor through the month of October, including opt outs, and potentially try to vote it out of committee when they return after the election.  As legislators are in district these next few weeks, I would encourage you to talk with them about the importance of the DDA in your community and how an opt out or resetting of a baseline would impact the funding level and therefore your ability to continue the good work you are doing.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development and land use issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

League Checks into Building Code Book and Reference Concerns

We have received a number of emails from members recently regarding a letter sent from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) detailing the requirement to have on hand a copy of building codes and references.  According to the department, this was a proactive move on the part of the commission and NOT a new requirement. This was an attempt by the commission to provide more narrow guidance on what was really important as far as references and books go to keep your library up to date as opposed to all books and references.  The department will be investigating local community books and references at the point of complaint, as has been done in the past.

If you are a local community who is not currently performing these functions, you are not required to have the materials referenced, including if you contract your services out to the county or a third party.

Also confirmed by the department is that you may have group access to these materials.  You could create an MOU with other communities, universities, etc. to show you have access when needed and that would be sufficient.  I mentioned the possibility of having these documents available on a statewide website and each community performing these functions can subscribe to the website for access.  This is a direction the department has considered going in but because of copyright issues with the books and references, it is not doable at this time.  This is why the option of at least sharing the materials with other communities to save on costs was brought up as a solution at this point in time.

A suggestion was made for a clarifying letter to be sent out by the department because of the confusion the previous letter created.  Please let me know if you have any additional concerns or questions you wish to have addressed and I would be happy to reach out and get answers.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

House Committee Hears Legislation on Mobile Home Park Inspections

The House Regulatory Reform committee heard testimony on a bill that makes changes to the Mobile Home Commission Act.  HB 5513 (substitute found here: HB 5513 sub) was introduced by Rep. Andy Schor in an effort to address a situation that occurred in his district with the Life O’Riley Mobile Home Park. This legislation requires the DEQ to outline clear roles for local units of government and enforcement (a problem that occurred with the Life O’Riley mobile home park that ended being condemned and residents forced to seek housing elsewhere). In addition, there are more reporting requirements of the DEQ to local units of government of rules promulgated or when a mobile home is found to be in violation.

The League is supportive of this legislation.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development and land use issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

Commerce Committee Holds Hearing on DDA Legislation, Push for Opt Outs Continues

Today the House Commerce committee took testimony on HB 5856, the legislation introduced by Rep. Kowall yesterday dealing with DDA transparency and spending. If you recall it contains a number of transparency pieces as well as teeth to obtain compliance.

Much of the testimony for the day, including that of the League’s, centered not on the bill itself necessarily but what the bill does not have in it: opt outs or resetting of baselines, both of which are extremely problematic.  There is a clear desire on Rep. Kowall’s part and a push by the Michigan Association of Counties to add in some element of either or both of those concepts.  It remains unclear which direction the bill sponsor is wanting to go in at this time.  It is imperative that you contact your representative and tell them how detrimental an opt out or resetting of baselines would be for economic development in your community.

Dana Foster

Dana Foster, city manager, City of Brighton

There were many members who testified or came to show their support providing a good representation of areas from across the state and I thank each and everyone one of them. The Michigan Downtown Association was in attendance as well and testified in support of the legislation.

At this time, they intend on having a committee hearing again next week Wednesday on this legislation and potentially voting it out of committee that same day.  If you are interested in testifying, please let me know.  Again, please contact your representatives regarding this legislation and opt outs/resetting of baselines.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development and land use issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

Pneumatic Gun Legislation Passes Senate

Today, the full Senate passed SB 979 (Sen. Hildenbrand), a bill to include pneumatic guns (i.e. paint ball guns) in the list of pistols or other firearms that local units of government currently cannot tax, regulate ownership of, registration of, sale/transfer/possession and transportation of (PA 319 of 1990).

The legislation does allow a local unit to regulate the possession of a pneumatic gun in someone under the age of 16 unless it is their private property as well as allow a local unit to prohibit discharging of a pneumatic gun in heavily populated areas.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development and land use issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

DDA Transparency Legislation Introduced Today, In Committee Tomorrow

Rep. Eileen Kowall has introduced legislation to require more transparency and limit some TIF fund operations of Downtown Development Authorities.  HB 5856 (Kowall DDA Act Legislation (4)) is significantly different than Draft 1 we posted about last week.  HB 5856 would do the following:

  1. Definition of Public Services and states a DDA can spend money on increased levels of public services that the municipality is not providing within the downtown district.
  2. Adds language stating the intent of the legislature in the DDA act of what a downtown is:
    A. DDAs intended to revitalize and develop downtown areas with intensive private and public capital investment that are densely settled commercial cores that serve as social, economic and cultural centers.
    B. Downtowns are multifunctional geographically contiguous spaces where residents can shop, dine, live, worship, access government, and be entertained, and that are compact and walkable and serve as a defining characteristic for the community’s overall sense of place.
  3. Adds abilities within a development district such as demolish, reconstruct, develop, redevelop, operate, repair, maintain, improve, etc.  Also adds in environmental remediation of property as an eligible activity.
  4. States all documents for the DDA (budget, audit, minutes, plans, etc) must be on either the DDAs website or the muni’s website.
  5. Requires an annual meeting of the DDA to which other taxing jurisdictions are invited to and allowed to speak on DDA specific issues.
  6. TIF reports that are currently submitted to state must also be submitted to the other taxing jurisdictions.
  7. Adds significant that must be a part of the TIF report including:
    Value of projects
    Number of businesses established and left area
    Other funds aside from TIF used for projects
    Job growth
    Growth in creation of businesses and existing businesses
    Vacancy rates
    Residential growth
    Increased activity from events sponsored by DDA
    Evidence of the reversal of blight or deterioration
  8. TIF revenues need to be used within 5 years of receipt or be turned back over to the other taxing jurisdictions.  However, that 5 years could be moved to longer than 5 but no more than 15 if the TIF plan states why the accumulation is needed, a timeframe for when it will be expended and for what it will be expended.  Additionally, TIF revenues may be accumulated as required pursuant to terms of bonds issued.
  9. Penalty for noncompliance: If State Tax Commission notifies the authority of failure to comply, the authority may not capture any TIF except what is needed for bonds or other obligations until they are back in compliance.

At this time, there are no additional opt outs or resetting of baselines.  However, it is extremely important that you all are contacting your representative regarding this legislation and letting them know how detrimental an opt out or resetting of baseline would be for economic development in your community.

This legislation will be taken up in House Commerce committee tomorrow morning at 10:30 am.  The intent is to then have one more committee hearing on this next week Wednesday where they pass it out and then potentially pass the full House next week Thursday (essentially the legislatures last day until after the election).

If you are interested in testifying on this issue, please let me know!

Please feel free to contact me with any questions!

 Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development and land use issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

Bill Creating a Municipal Utility Residential Clean Energy Program Act Gets Senate Hearing

House Bill 5397, a bill creating the Municipal Utility Residential Clean Energy Program Act, received a committee hearing in the Senate Energy and Technology committee today.  This would enable municipalities that own electric utilities to establish a program to help provide financing to residential property owners for energy efficiency projects. This is modeled after the PACE Act.

This legislation passed the full House prior to the legislative recess in June on a 108 to 2 vote.

This is an idea that was brought to Rep. Joe Haveman’s attention by the city of Holland who would like the opportunity to create a program such as this.

Samantha Harkins is the Director of State Affairs for the League handling municipal finance issues.  She can be reached at sharkins@mml.org or 517-908-0306.